Are we cut out to be with the same person for all time or is there a space for variety? How hard is it to maintain a monogamous relationship and keep the connection vibrant, the sex engaging – the spark alive?
I’m reminded of the old New York Times cartoon with the priest asking the bride and groom if they are willing ” for better or worse, richer or poorer, their partner being the only person they have sex with for the rest of their life, remain faithful and true…?”
As they take that vow, sometimes in the dopamine heat filled moment, do they realise the implications?
HOW TO STAY ENGAGED
1. Talk. Talk. Talk.
That is all that is required… given that the assumption is always that you are being honest, open and caring.
We all know (and I experience in the choosingchange Clinic) many couples struggle with the idea that their partner (male and female) finds another person attractive… and while many go no further than looking, some of do something about their appetite.
Sometimes this “doing something” allows the couple to reconsider their arrangement. Sometimes this “doing something” causes a break-up.
For some people, merely “chatting” online is enough to satisfy their curiosity, ego or lustful dreams. For others a full on “Grinder” account or other online “hook-up” program (on the iPhone for instance there are many such Apps) which enables them to find a willing partner in their area, ready for sex NOW is the answer.
How many “couples” are both doing this? A surprising many if my clinic is anything to go by. Of course, many people in a relationship are doing this without their partner knowing. This is when things go awry in the relationship.
How hard is it to maintain a monogamous relationship and keep the sex interesting and the spark igniting? This is not to advocate sexual contact outside of the agreed arrangement that you already have. After all, an agreement is just that, an agreement. If you said you agree but did not really think so then you lied. And if you change your mind but don’t tell me then you are also lying.
For some people monogamy is right, and given the societal expectations, it seems those who do not adhere to the conventions are deemed sinners or strange. Following the monogamy ideal is right for many people. The dilemma is that many people say they are monogamous but do not act monogamously. The worrying part of that is the dishonesty.
The human condition is such that we are moved by urges. Urges we often must follow even at risk of betraying our expressed ideals.. taking this person, for better or worse…
From the experiences we have and hear about there is a strong indication that some people need more that one partner. Just as some people like to contain their sexual urges to one partner, others need to hear classical and rock music, attend opera and football, have straight and not-so-straight sex, or a variety of partners.
These are not ideas foreign to anyone living in Australia, Europe… and I would suggest everywhere on this earth. What is foreign is the open discussion of these ideas. And if we are in a relationship that does not discuss these things it is likely, if one partner wishes to expand their horizon, that it will be done in secret.
It is the secretiveness of what goes on between any couple in a relationship, any kind of relationship (mother-son, father-daughter, friends, business partners, colleagues, school friends, boss-worker) that causes friction. once those distrustful ideas are sparked they will permeate the whole of that relationship and often cause extreme disruption and often separateness.
Breakups occur because people are sometimes not willing to discuss and adapt to changing ideas or goals. And the one thing that is guaranteed is that we will experience change in our lives. I, of course, advocate the choosing of change.
By choosing to discuss what my partner wants and what I want (equally important if I am in a relationship I wish to continue) we are both able to express our needs and desires. And I do want things, and I do want my dearest partner, (friends, bosses, colleagues..) to get what they want because I love them and wish them to prosper.
I am also open to change because as I experience life it is the new knowledge I gain that informs me and gives me new ideas, insights, revelations that excite and inspire me to live fully.